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What Fish Species Are Most Popular for Freshwater Tanks?

Most Popular Freshwater Aquarium Fish San Diego, CA

People who get into the aquarium hobby usually opt for a freshwater aquarium rather than a reef tank, which is a better starting step. Many beginners have specific fish in mind before they go about setting up their tanks, and they’re often the most popular species that thrive in freshwater tropical habitats. The factors that make some freshwater fish more popular include looks, hardiness, disposition, behaviors, ease of breeding, and even appearances on film and television. Let’s get to know some of these species.

Fancy Goldfish

We can either thank or blame Hollywood for making goldfish such a popular aquarium species. It seems as if any scene that calls for a fishbowl prop will feature a lonely goldfish, and this is a problem because it sends the wrong message about the kind of habitat this species requires. Fancy goldfish tend to be smaller and can be kept in 10-gallon tanks, but common goldfish will grow larger and need at least 20 gallons. Goldfish aren’t just easy on the eyes—they’re also very resilient. However, they should not be kept with other species.


If you’re looking for colorful and vibrant fish that are easy to care for, swordtails (and their smaller cousins—platies) are highly recommended. For the most part, these fish will get along with other species. However, they’re known to become voracious when they see fry spawning in the tank. Swordtails also mate and breed more often than their aquarium mates.

Neon Tetras

This schooling species is a favorite of fish keepers who are into aquascaping, which is the art of making tanks look stunning with aquatic plants. Since they only grow about an inch, you can keep a school of five or six neon tetras in a 10-gallon tank. The omnivorous nature of this species means they’ll enjoy feeding diversly. Compared to other species, neon tetras aren’t messy eaters.


All freshwater tanks should have a few of these peaceful bottom feeders. Corys are excellent substrate cleaners that can help you keep the aquarium’s bioload in check while reducing the potential of algae bloom. Moreover, they’ll get along with just about all species and look really nice when in a school of four to six.


The popularity of this large species is based on its natural curiosity and higher intelligence. Oscars are known to develop bonds with their keepers, but they’re not recommended for community tanks. Seasoned aquarists will keep two Oscars in a 50 to 60-gallon tank without any other aquarium mates—preferably two females because they’ll get along.


This cichlid species is related to the Oscar fish, but it’s smaller and more attractive. Don’t let the delicate appearance of angelfish fool you—this is a very hardy species that will eat just about anything, and it’s known to become aggressive when it grows larger than other species. Along with neon tetras, angelfish are often chosen as the single species to stock a tank with (in groups, not just two).

To properly care for your freshwater fish, you’ll need all of the essential freshwater aquarium supplies. Come to Aquatic Warehouse, located in Kearny Mesa, where you can find everything you need. Or, you can also order your supplies on our website and have them delivered to your home. If you have any questions for our friendly and knowledgeable staff, call 858-467-9297 today.


Contact Information

  • Address: 5466 Complex Street Suite 204
    San Diego, CA 92123
  • Phone: (858) 467-9297
  • Email: sales@aquaticwarehouse.com
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